Most traffic citations can be easily resolved by paying a fine if you choose not to contest the ticket. But when you have been cited for reckless driving in Virginia, paying a fine before the date of the hearing is not an option. It is a criminal charge that should be handled by a skilled criminal defense attorney.
If you have been cited for reckless driving in or around Tidewater, for the best results, contact an experienced Tidewater reckless driving lawyer to get the representation that you need from someone who is familiar with the local customs.
Virginia defines reckless driving as driving in a way or at a speed that would endanger lives, limbs, or property. It does not, however, require that there be a specific incident of threat before an officer can cite you. Racing constitutes as reckless driving, even if it occurs in an area where there is no danger to anyone or anything that is not actively involved in the race.
There are 14 categories of acts that give rise to a charge for reckless driving, the most common of which is speeding. Driving 20 miles per hour or more above a posted speed limit or driving in excess of 80 miles per hour is reckless driving. Failing to signal before a lane change and driving with an obstructed view because of passengers also meets the standard for reckless driving.
In the Commonwealth, reckless driving is a criminal offense that is adjudicated under VA Code § 46.2-853 through VA Code § 46.2-865. Since a reckless driving charge is a criminal offense, you are required to report to court on the date of the hearing, just as you would if you were hit with a more serious charge.
There are three options once you have been charged with a criminal offense: your case can be dismissed, you can negotiate a plea or plead guilty, or you can go to trial. Reckless driving is classified as a class one misdemeanor, which is the most serious misdemeanor offense. The penalty, if convicted, of a class one misdemeanor is up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Additionally, a conviction for reckless driving also has administrative penalties that are managed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
After being charged with reckless driving in Tidewater, you are required to report to Richmond County General District Court. Hearings in this court are presided over by judges, who also make determinations of guilt or innocence. Cases from district court can be appealed to Richmond County Circuit Court.
It is not common to be incarcerated for reckless driving, especially if it is a first offense, but the court will consider your driving record holistically. Virginia law does allow for incarceration, however.
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, it is important to treat the charge as seriously as the court will. Contact an experienced Tidewater reckless driving lawyer, who will zealously advocate for your best interests.
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